So continuing my week of Papua New Guinea, I promised to share about Bride Price which is still practiced today.
Years ago, bride price used to consist of mainly: Arm Shells and food such as bananas, yams, pigs, fish etc.
Whereas today, money is the key item that families are expecting.
This is what typically happens – the bride's family in this village will receive on average approximately Kina K50,000 for the marriage of their daughter. All family members of the groom, are requested in advance to save for his wedding.
Traditionally the groom's family, approach the bride's family and offer food together with a sum of approximately K1000.00 which in the Western Society would be known as an "Engagement"
If, the bride's family accept, they are then seen to be officially engaged in the eyes of the community.
The bride's family then plan for the eventual wedding usually in three to four months after the engagement.
The wedding then takes place, followed usually by a child in quick succession, followed by the bride price.
If no child is born into the family, the groom's family will still be required to pay bride price however the couple will then usually adopt from other family members such as cousins etc.
When the day arrives, the groom's family prepare a bamboo stick full of items such as saucepans, plastic ware, cups, grass knives, etc. which are then given to the parents of the bride. The parents of the bride will then decide if they wish to distribute amongst their relatives or keep for themselves.
It is a fun community activity where the whole village gets involved and I love that about it. But there are a lot of other things that I don’t like about it too but that’s for another post.
Anyway this type of bride price is how it’s done in my village. It is done differently all around Papua New Guinea.
Here are a couple of pictures I found on flickr (I'm loving flickr) of the bamboo stick with arm shells.